Saturday, 30 August 2014

Superfood Cooking Class

I'd always been meaning to take some classes at my local cooking school, Orange Regional Cooking School. Recently I finally got organised and got myself along to two classes. Both were great.  The first class was a soup night, and the second of these classes was a superfood cooking class. While I generally think that superfood is an overused term, I get that it's being used to encourage people to eat nourishing natural foods, and that's a good thing.

A demonstration class, we have a lovely glass of wine, and sit back to watch someone else do all the work. And then we eat the spoils. For the superfood class Lesley Russell was joined by Lindl Taylor. Lindl used to run the fantastic Energize Cafe, sadly missed by all who ever went there.

There were many courses this night, all delicious.

Kale Chips
Mojito Smoothie, sadly without rum
Cauliflower, kale, anchovy and garlic

Freekah pilaf

Quinoa salad with roast sweet potato and orange vinaigrette
topped with lamb

Chia and coconut pudding

There was a soup as well- Roast garlic, faro and chicken soup- but I must have been in a frenzy and forgot to photograph it. It was a fantastic evening. I learnt so much. 

Even really simple things that I haven't done before
like chopping an orange- not in quarters
I've cooked quinoa before, and use it quite regularly, but learnt some new tips to try next time I prepare it. I've never cooked freekah, farro or kale before, and I felt empowered to give it a go at the end of the class. I was thrilled to learn how to make and cook cauliflower rice.

I've already cooked two of the recipes at home. I've made the chia and coconut pudding twice now- it's very delicious. And tonight I made the cauliflower and kale- I made a vegetarian version topped with tofu for Master Adventures and I- he rated it 7/10! A major victory.

This post is linked to Weekend Cooking
a fabulous weekly meme at BethFishReads

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Cinnamon Pumpkin with Chickpeas, Tahini and Candied Pumpkin Seeds

Sometimes inspiration comes in the most unexpected places. Like the Sunday papers. I found this recipe back in May in the Sunday Telegraph Body and Soul section. There was an excerpt of several recipes from a book called Community. I'd never heard of Community before I made this recipe- after I made this recipe I made sure to track it down at my local bookshop- it's chock full of delicious sounding recipes.

This is the best thing I've cooked this year.

My effort

1 large butternut pumpkin/squash (about 1 kg), peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
1 red onion, cut into 5mm wedges
1 head of garlic
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
sea salt and black pepper
2-3 tblsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tblsp tahini paste
3 tblsp Greek yoghurt
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 small clove garlic, crushed
2 cans of chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped

Candied Pumpkin Seeds

1 cup pumpkin seeds
3 tblsp low GI sugar
1 large eggwhite, beaten
1/4 tsp ground allspice
sea salt

Preheat oven to 220C. Toss pumpkin, onion, cinnamon, ginger, salt and pepper with oil.

Spread on a baking tray and roast for 40 minutes or until golden. You may need to remove the onion first as it cooks faster.

To make the candied pumpkin seeds, mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Spread on a tray lined with baking paper. Bake for 10-20 minutes or until seeds are golden and slightly puffed. Remove from the oven and season with salt. Stir gently, leaving some clumps. Allow the mixture to cool completely (it can be stored in an airtight jar for 3-4 weeks).

Whisk together the tahini, yoghurt, lemon juice, crushed garlic and a pinch of salt.

To serve, gently toss pumpkin, chickpeas, roasted garlic and coriander together. Place on a serve plate, spoon over tahini sauce and scatter over the candied pumpkin seeds.

Naturally I tinkered with the recipe.

Cook the onion separately it cooks much too quickly, and even keeping an eye on it it's quite easy to burn it before the pumpkin is done.

I don't like tahini all that much, so changed the ratios to suit. The original recipe had
4 tblsp tahini paste
3 tblsp Greek yoghurt
and the sauce was thinned with with 4 tblsp water- I can't remember if I did that or not.

I added a roasted a head of garlic with the other veggies as I had one in the cupboard.

I substituted coriander/cilantro for parsley, as I love, love, love coriander and find parsley a bit meh.

I found the candied pumpkin seeds a little troublesome, although I cut down the amount of sugar because it seemed too much. I will have to try that again.

Boiled butternut pumpkin/squash has a low GI rating of 51.
Tinned chickpeas are low GI at 40, while home cooked chickpeas are even lower 28 (and more delicious, but I used tinned for this).

How it looked in the paper